Friday, December 03, 2010
Today’s Topic: False Security
Today’s Text: Isaiah 28:16 So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.
In Isaiah 28 the people of Israel are being addressed by the Lord through the prophet about their pursuit of worldly living at the expense of spiritual things. They have become so intent on living according to the desires of the flesh that they even believe they are able to hold their fate in their own hands by making a deal with death. (Isaiah 28:15) In response, God tells them that their covenant with death is based on a lie, and that there is only one source of truth. God tells them about the Precious Cornerstone who we know to be Jesus.
I want to give you two stories today and let them illustrate the lessons we can learn from this historical example. May the Holy Spirit make His unique application to your understanding.
In the book Lessons from a Father to His Son (Nelson, 1998), Missouri senator John Ashcroft writes: [My father told me], “John, I’d like you to fly this plane for a while.” I was eight years old at the time, blue-jeaned and T-shirted and wide-eyed at the world. My father was an amateur pilot. I looked around me at the spartan interior, which was nothing at all like the multitudinous controls, gauges, and computerized equipment in planes today. The control stick looked like a broom handle and came up between my legs.
“What should I do?” I shouted back to my father, who was seated behind me.
“Just grab the stick and push it straight forward.”
“Okay.” I took hold of that stick and did as I was told. Immediately the plane went into a straight bombing-raid dive toward a farm on the outskirts of Springfield! My stomach came up to my throat and I lost all sense of time or place as fear gripped my insides. I let go of that control stick in a millisecond, and Dad pulled the plane back up.
He had a good chuckle, and I had a good lesson: actions have consequences. I learned in a particularly vivid—in fact, terrifying—way that my decisions and actions could imperil my future.
There are no deals to be made with death. Every action has a consequence.
Then there is this story from Chuck Swindoll:
On Sunday, believers arrived at a house church in the Soviet Union in small groups throughout the day so not to arouse the suspicion of KGB informers. They began by singing a hymn quietly. Suddenly, in walked two soldiers with loaded weapons at the ready. One shouted, “If you wish to renounce your commitment to Jesus Christ, leave now!”
Two or three quickly left, then another. After a few more seconds, two more.
“This is your last chance. Either turn against your faith in Christ,” he ordered, “or stay and suffer the consequences.”
Two more slipped out into the night. No one else moved. Parents with children trembling beside them looked down reassuringly, fully expecting to be gunned down or imprisoned.
The other soldier closed the door, looked back at those who stood against the wall and said, “Keep your hands up—but this time in praise to our Lord Jesus Christ. We, too, are Christians. We were sent to another house church several weeks ago to arrest a group of believers.”
The other soldier interrupted, “But, instead, we were converted! We have learned by experience, however, that unless people are willing to die for their faith, they cannot be fully trusted.”
How you respond in the face of persecution reveals whether or not you are standing on the Rock, for the one who is will NEVER be dismayed. Jesus is the only source of true security.